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Music companies sue Anthropic AI over song lyrics

Music publishers sue AI company Anthropic for using copyrighted lyrics in AI responses, seeking damages of up to tens of millions of dollars.

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WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES — Universal and other music publishers have sued artificial intelligence company Anthropic in a US court for using copyrighted lyrics to train its AI systems and in generating answers to user queries.

The lawsuit, filed in a Tennessee federal court on Wednesday, follows other such cases in which creators have taken on AI companies for using their material.

The companies allege that when a user prompts Anthropic’s Claude 2 to provide lyrics to hits such as Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” Don McLean’s “American Pie” or Beyonce’s “Halo,” the chatbot gives responses that contain “all or significant portions of those lyrics.”

The plaintiffs also complain that the chatbot mines copyrighted material when not specifically asked to do so, such as in requests to write a song about a certain topic or in the style of a given artist.

The lawsuit says Anthropic “profits richly” from the works “yet, Anthropic pays nothing to publishers, their songwriters, or the countless other copyright owners whose copyrighted works Anthropic uses to train its AI models.”

Anthropic was created in 2021 by former employees of ChatGPT creator OpenAI. It has been funded by Google and partnered with Amazon to develop new technology.

The company works on AI models that seek to impose stricter guardrails than ChatGPT and other chatbot rivals.

The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial and damages of up to US$150,000 per song infringed — which could reach into the tens of millions of dollars.

Anthropic did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.

Last month “Game of Thrones” author George RR Martin and other best-selling fiction writers filed a class-action lawsuit against OpenAI, accusing the startup of violating their copyrights to fuel ChatGPT.

Numerous other lawsuits have been filed by artists, organizations and coders against Microsoft-backed OpenAI and its competitors, with the plaintiffs claiming their work has been ripped off.

Following Microsoft’s lead, Google this month announced it would provide legal protection for customers sued for copyright infringement over content generated by its AI.

— AFP

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